Ice Hockey: No. 6 Michigan bounces back

Despite allowing another five goals Saturday night, the No. 6-ranked Michigan ice hockey team overcame their defensive shortcomings tonight in a 6-5 win over the Western Michigan Broncos at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. Center's T.J. Hensick and Andrew Cogliano paced the Michigan offense as the Wolverines got back on track just in time for a showdown with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

After trailing the entire night yesterday, a point of emphasis for Saturday night was to get off to a better start. Western Michigan made sure it happened with a pair of quick penalties to help the Maize and Blue get on top 1-0.

On the Wolverines second power play of the night, Brian Lebler put the Wolverines on top just 2:49 into the contest. Lebler slapped a rebound past Broncos goalie Riley Gill after Wolverine Brandon Naurato's shot trickled right to the stick of Lebler in front of the Western Michigan net.

At that point, however, the Wolverines defensive woes kicked in. Steve Jakiel gave up his first goal in the Michigan net after the Wolverines gave the puck away just in front of their own goal. Western Michigan's Patrick Galivan picked up the loose puck and flipped it past Jakiel at 3:37 to make it all square.

Western Michigan took their first lead of the game fifteen minutes later when Brett John popped out of the penalty, scooped up a pass from inside the Western zone, and coasted in on Jakiel before slipped it past him to make it 2-1 Western.

Michigan continued to slide defensively into the second period. Western Michigan upped the lead to two goals just past the middle point of the second frame. With the puck behind the Michigan net, the Broncos Jason Moul slipped the puck past the skate of Jakiel into the Michigan goal to make it 3-1.

Then it became the T.J. Hensick show.

In the midst of a critical Michigan penalty kill, Hensick picked up a loose puck in the Michigan zone. With David Rohlfs flanked to his side, Hensick carried the puck into the WMU zone creating a two-on-one break for the Wolverines. Hensick found Rohlfs with the puck and Rohlfs deked to open up the pads and then slipped it past Gill to make it 3-2.

Just over two minutes later, Hensick picked up his second assist of the night, this time a power-play marker, finding Andrew Cogliano at the top of circles for a one-timer that beat Gill to tie it all up.

Back on the power play two minutes later, the Wolverines went on top for the first time, this time on a goal from Kevin Porter, again assisted by Hensick. Hensick found Chad Kolarik for a quick shot and, despite Gill making the initial save, the Wolverines climbed on top when Porter jammed the rebound into the net.

Western tied it 4-4 in the opening part of the third period. Jeff Pierce got his stick on a Tyler Ludwig shot and tipped it past Jakiel.

Michigan again had the answer though. Hensick carried the puck into the Western zone and pushed the disc across the ice to Brandon Naurato. Naurato fired the puck into the net to make it 5-4 Michigan. Cogliano put the game out of reach with a rebound goal at 12:11 of the final frame.

Western Michigan added one final goal to get back within one at the 13:31 mark, but Jakiel would allow no more as the Wolverines held on for the wild 6-5 win.

In their final two games before the midway break, the Wolverines are scheduled to take part in a home-and-home with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, currently ranked in the top five in both major men's college hockey polls, next weekend.

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